Tuesday, 11 February 2020
Written by Dr. Shanessa Fenner
The Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County presents the “Troublesome Presence” exhibit until March 13. The intent of the exhibit is to create conversations about troublesome moments for African Americans in today’s society.
“The exhibit, as far as the artwork that is featured inside of the art gallery, includes paintings, sculptures, videos, mixed media, photography, spoken word, poetry and movement,” said Metoya Scott, public relations manager at the Arts Council. “The exhibit features 19 pieces by 13 black North Carolina-based artists, and it is an amazing exhibition that is very thought provoking.”
The presenting artists are Derrick Beasley, Johnny Lee Chapman III, Dare Coulter, Andre’ Leon Gray, Jaki Shelton Green, Carly P. Jones, Stephen Hayes, Anthony Otto Nelson Jr., Nicole Oxendine, Telvin Wallace, Lamar Whidbee, Antoine Williams and Stephanie J. Woods.
“There is a five-minute film in our west gallery that loops all day long,” Scott said. “It is called ‘Free Market.’ It features an original poem and movement that was directed by Michael S. Williams and was filmed at the Market House in downtown Fayetteville.” In the piece, Williams speaks about the value that is placed on African Americans in history and today.
“With this exhibit, ‘Troublesome Presence,’ we are looking at identity, agency, introspection, intersectionality and other things,” said Williams, independent consultant, curator and founder of The Black On Black Project. “The title of the exhibition comes from a speech that Abraham Lincoln gave in 1852 when he gave a eulogy for Henry Clay, who was president and one of the founders of the American Colonization Society, in which Lincoln referred to free African Americans as a troublesome presence on slaveholders.”
The Black On Black Project website, https://www.blackonblackproject.com, explains why America needs to be willing to examine its stance on equality saying, “This work matters because important conversations about equity need to happen so that all community members are valued. A diverse community can be enriching, but engaging in dialogue about identity and difference is a must.
“This work makes a difference in the lives of marginalized individuals and communities by allowing space to be seen and heard. It also makes a difference in the lives of the larger community by creating space to engage with others. When this engagement and dialogue happen, everyone’s life is enriched.”
Williams added the idea of the exhibition is to show the antithesis of troublesome — that African Americans have not been troublesome in the United States.
“One of the pieces in the exhibit includes two works called ‘A Radiant Revolution II’ and ‘A Radiant Revolution III’ which are mixed media pieces by an artist named Stephanie J. Woods from Charlotte,” said Williams of the two-piece installation that is considered one work. “The work really highlights how much (black women matter) and how important black women are and how showing black women their ‘black is beautiful’ and ‘strong black girl,’ which is another phrase in one of the works, (is important).
“There’s a piece in the show called ‘Untitled,’ and it is another video piece,” said Williams. “It features words from North Carolina poet laureate Jaki Shelton Green, dance instructor Nicole Oxendine and opera singer Carly P. Jones, who are outliers in their respective fields because you don’t see a lot of African American women in those roles. The idea is to show you have agency.
“Through artwork and some of our programs and workshops, we hope to showcase these 13 North Carolina-based artists and the work that they produced to show African Americans in a different light other than troublesome, but rather (as) folks who have done a lot to help the United States,” said Williams. “Through that, we hope to bring communities together to have somewhat difficult conversations about some of the things we face today.”
On its website, the Arts Council notes “The Arts Council of Fayetteville-Cumberland County partners with the Black On Black Project to produce an art exhibition and community programming that respond to the challenges communities of color face locally and across the country. After spending time in conversation with local leaders and members of the community, we’ve created an exhibit that aims to reflect a diversity of experiences. This partnership desires to bring more perspectives to the table for an open, honest dialogue to create an equitable future.”
There are four remaining events at the Arts Council in conjunction with this exhibition.
Tuesday, Feb. 18 at 7 p.m. is a screening of “Wilmington on Fire.” The documentary covers the only successful coup in United States history, which happened in 1898 in Wilmington, N.C. Following the screening, a panel discussion will take place, featuring the director of the film, Christopher Everett, as well as some of the documentary’s other team members.
Thursday, Feb. 20 at 7 p.m. is a panel discussion titled “How artists can affect change in the community.” The panelists are Derrick Beasley, artist; Dare Coulter, artist; Sherris Johnson, founding director of OUR Place; Sonny Kelly, writer and performer of “The Talk.”
Thursday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. is a panel discussion titled “The importance of understanding and documenting history.”This panel discussion will address how the documentation of history will affect how people remember history later.
Friday, Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. is an evening of spoken word. Featured poets include Ayanna Albertson, Ashlee Connors, Ashley Lumpkins and Sherris Johnson. The poetry is written in response to the “Troublesome Presence” exhibit. The spoken word event is the Arts Council’s monthly Fourth Friday event.
The film screening and three panel discussions are facilitated by Williams.
Seating is limited for the programming events, so attendees should RSVP by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 910-323-1776.
The exhibit is free and open to the public. For more information visit https://www.theartscouncil.com. or call 910-323-1776.
Picture 1: “The Blacker The Berry” by Dare Coulter
Picture 2: “Through It All” by Lamar Whidbee
Monday, 10 February 2020
Written by Mindy Love
Editor's note: The Siberian State Symphony Orchestra has been cancelled. The National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine will be at Givens Performing Arts Center on Feb. 18 at 7:30 p.m. The orchestra’s performance will replace the previously scheduled Siberian State Symphony Orchestra. Tickets range from $21 to $31 for adults and $8 for children.
Live from Russia: The Siberian State Symphony Orchestra embarked on its eight-week United States tour in January 2020. Music played by the acclaimed 80-member orchestra from Krasnoyarsk, Russia will fill the Givens Performing Arts Center on Feb. 18, at 7:30 p.m.
Led by Music Director and Conductor Vladimir Lande, the Siberian State Symphony Orchestra will play celebrated Russian classics in an enchanting symphonic evening. Included in the performance are classical music compositions by 19th century Russian composers Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky and 20th Century composer Dmitri Shostakovich. Lande is also the Music Director and Conductor for the Washington Soloists Chamber Orchestra and the COSMIC Symphony Orchestra.
The orchestra dates back to 1977 in the former Soviet Union, winning the reputation as one of the premier orchestras of the time. After the political regime change in the Soviet Union, the Siberian State Symphony Orchestra was allowed to tour internationally and was received on the international stage with much praise.
Considered a culturally important institution, the Siberian State Symphony Orchestra eagerly shares the musical arts of Russia with the world through concerts and albums.
During the concert Peter Laul, award winning pianist and regular performer with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic and the Lincoln Center in New York, as well as other venues around the globe, will entertain guests with a solo performance.
Attendees will enjoy Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1, Shostakovich’s "Tango" from the ballet “Bolt,” and Mussorgsky’s "Pictures at the Exhibition."
Fun fact: Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concert No.1 was personally conducted by Tchaikovsky at the opening of Carnegie Hall in New York City in 1891. This was a rare occasion for a well-known composer of 19th Century European Romantic period music to come to the United States to perform.
When asked how the GPAC is able to host such an internationally acclaimed orchestra, Chad Locklear, Marketing Director for the Givens Performing Arts Center, stated, “The GPAC is committed to bringing high-caliber and diverse arts experience to our community. This orchestra meets that category because it has a reputation as being one of the best in Russia.”
“In the digital age of Netflix and social media, nothing will ever take the place of experiencing the arts live in person,” he said. “I hope attendees will come away feeling appreciative and inspired to continue to attend and support the arts.”
The performance is expected to last 78 minutes with a 15 minute intermission in between. The GPAC seats 1,600 people and there are discounts for groups of 10 or more and for children under age 13.
Tickets may be purchased by phone at 910-521-6361 or online using the link found on their website. Tickets may also be purchased in person at the GPAC box office. Tickets prices are between $21-$31 for adults, $18 for children, $16 for faculty and staff, and $5 for UNCP Students. Visit https://www.uncp.edu/resources/gpac/professional-artist-series/siberian-state-symphony-orchestra for more information.